Bangkok-based entrepreneur Frederic Meyer, who has collaborated with Chef Ian Kittichai at Issaya Siamese Club and Namsaah Bottling Trust, and who more recently opened Pizza Massilia, a gourmet food truck based in Silom, takes a leap into progressive Japanese fare at his latest culinary venture.
Opened last May, Kom-Ba-Wa, which means “good evening” in Japanese, occupies a single-kuha shophouse on hip Suan Phlu, off Sathorn Road. The highceiling dining room is adorned with flamboyant red and gold wallpaper, Japanese prints, early 20th-century postcards, polished hardwoods, and both Japanese and French antiques, including kiri cabinets from Nagoya and brass empire chandeliers from France. The ambience is relaxed yet elegant. A similarly decorated dining room upstairs is reserved for private dining.
“Our food is a modern interpretation of traditional Japanese cuisine, using regional recipes with the finest ingredients, while adding our own touch,” says presiding chef Goro Takatsu. According to Meyer, it’s simply the kind of food he wants to eat.
Takatu’s signature dishes start with “Rosebeef” (B290), an inspired take on the traditional Japanese beef tataki in which a lengthy slice of 240-day-old Black Angus is arranged in the shape of a rose blossom and served with a citrus-ponzu dressing. From there, it branches out into a thick filet of perfectly grilled King Salmon with Edamame Purée and Yuzu Butter Sauce (B690), said to be one of the most popular dishes at the restaurant.
Fish and shellfish, which make up a significant portion of the Kom-Ba-Wa menu, are imported direct from Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. For diners interested in sushi and sashimi, the best bet is to order the chef’s choice platters (B490 for 3/B790 for 5).
From the appetizers portion of the menu, the Black Cod Miso Gyoza with Chili Soy Sauce (B410) is so good you might be tempted to order a second platter to take home. Marinated Eggplant with Crab Meat and Foie Gras Miso Sauce (B380) is another knockout appetizer. Japanese Sakura Shrimp Cakes (B390), a stunning warm-up inspired by a traditional Okinawan recipe, feature fresh sakura shrimp dressed with citrus and homemade bonito flakes, two elements that battle one another for attention on the palate.
Back to the mains, a fragrant, steaming bowl of Black Angus Beef Cheek Stew with Golden Beetroot and Edamame (B780), flavoured with red and white miso, seems at first glance like the ultimate Japanese comfort food. And it lives up to the loftiest expectations. Hungry stomachs will enjoy hearty portions of Kurobuta Pork Glazed with Nagano Peach Sake (B750) or 60-Day-Aged Tajima Wagyu Beef Steak Served with Ponzu Jelly (B1750).
For dessert, the Sake Blanc Manger Served with Salty Plum Sorbet (B220) stands out, but there are three other choices for those in search of variety.
A well-stocked bar flanks one wall of the dining room, offering an ample selection of red, white, and sparkling wines from around the world, both by the bottle and by the glass. Eleven Japanese sakes are available by the bottle, and two by the glass. For the hard stuff, choose among five brands of Japanese whiskey or signature house cocktails, such as Tokyo Bliss (Yuza shuwa and white wine), Kyoto Shiroku (shiroku,vodka and soda), and Osaka Sparkling (Yoshino and Zadetto).
Inimitable and oh-so-cool, Kom-Ba-Wa is another successful notch in Meyer’s culinary belt.
39/19 Soi Suan Phlu, Sathorn Rd | 0 2679 3775 | kombawa.com | daily 11.30am-2pm, 6pm-1am